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Five Key Ways to Reduce Your Businesses' Energy Bills

16 July 2012


As smart business operators, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and increase profits.

It can be so easy to get stuck in the monotony of everyday business life that sometimes it is difficult to reflect and get ideas on how to make the most efficient decisions.

One source I would like to direct your business to, not just for environmental but for all facets of business operations, is the startupsmart website, www.startupsmart.com.au. I recently read an article on five ways to reduce your businesses’ energy bill that is too good not to share. Below is my edited and summarised version.

There has been a lot of scare tactics in the market place to make it seem like the carbon tax will be the death of small and medium sizes businesses (SMEs) but to date, data suggests otherwise. In fact, it appears that most SMEs are implementing strategies to minimise their risk to the tax.

The biggest area of concern for most businesses is energy bills. To help your business look at reducing the impact of increasing prices, here are five key ways to make savings.

1.    Implement a “Switch off” campaign in your business.

With a flick of a switch, you can cut your business’ power bill by up to 10%. According to the NSW government, by switching off appliances when you leave your workplace for the day, you can save around $125 and cut your CO2 emissions by 500 kilos a year.

Switching off computers and photocopiers entirely is the best option, but if you have to keep appliances on standby, look for equipment that is Energy Star compliant as well as being multifunction. Install light dimmers, a skylight and unplug outdoor lighting during the day.

Like to remind staff to “switch off”? Email me at cw@greenbizcheck.com and I’ll send you a copy of our “Switch Off” campaign sticker template for free

2.     Regulate air conditioning

Your total energy bill can be increased by around 7% for each degree that your thermostat is awry in summer and winter.

Ideally, adjust your heating and cooling according to the season – between 18° and 21° in winter and 24° in summer.

Check your refrigeration and cooking appliances to make sure they aren’t leaking energy and scale down the heating and cooling of areas that are rarely used, such as storerooms.

Make sure doors aren’t left ajar and ensure that your business is well insulated. Conversely, install window shades, solar reduction film or awnings to reduce the amount of heat penetrating your office in summertime.

 3.       Review efficiency of your electrical equipment

Refrigeration is a notorious cash pit for unwary businesses. You should also be careful to not have too large a fridge, otherwise you’ll be powering space that you never use.

 Old, clunky air conditioners can also be a source of needless cost for businesses. By installing a new, efficient air conditioner and ensuring that you use it prudently, you can halve your energy bills.

 Use fluorescent bulbs and LEDs instead of incandescent or halogen lighting, which both munch their way through significantly more power.

4.     Solar Electricity

While feed-in tariff rates vary by state – with some governments more generous than others – there are various incentives for businesses across Australia to opt for solar. The Australian government's solar panel credits program gives an up-front discount for solar systems, while you can trade Renewable Energy Certificates – provided with approved solar appliances – for cash.

If the carbon price does what it is designed to do, renewable energy will become more financially attractive for households and businesses. It makes sense to consider moving to solar now to lock in the savings.

5.     Look at available funding for your business

If you need a hand investing in energy efficient equipment, the Federal Government’s $1 billion  Clean Technology Investment Program  might be able to help you out.

The scheme offers matched grants, with the first 13 recipients – getting $8.1 million between them unveiled last month.

www.business.qld.gov.au  also has a list of energy saving funds and programs available to most Queensland businesses.

Reference Source: www.startupsmart.com.au

By Holly McCarthy, GreenBizCheck

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